Pragmatism, Persuasion, and Force in Bhimrao Ambedkar's Reconstruction of Buddhism
Stroud, Scott R. (2017). “Pragmatism, Persuasion, and Force in Bhimrao Ambedkar’s Reconstruction of Buddhism,” Journal of Religion, 97 (2), 214-243.
44 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2017
Date Written: April 22, 2017
This study explores the religious advocacy of the “untouchable” reformer, Bhimrao Ambedkar, during the 1950s to expand what we know about the nexus between religion, force, and the quest for social justice. Unearthing the sources of Ambedkar’s early references to John Dewey and pragmatism, this study argues that Ambedkar evinced an abiding concern over the role of force and violence in reform efforts. In his final years, Ambedkar addressed international audiences reconstructing Buddhism as an alternative to communism, a move that posited compassionate persuasion as the pragmatist answer to his early concerns over using force in pursuing social justice.
Keywords: pragmatism, religion, Bhimrao Ambedkar, John Dewey, caste, social justice, Bertrand Russell
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